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JC-bound rusher will hit the books

Going to Butte College, Benson's Alex Green hopes to play D-I ball

Former Benson High running back Alex Green admits to having bad study habits - 'I procrastinate,' he says - and to making sports the priority over academics. But he vows to change in college.

'I'm focused on academics - study, study, study - and football comes second,' says Green, one of the North's stars in Friday's 49-25 Les Schwab Bowl victory at PGE Park.

'My parents won't allow me to focus on just football anymore,' Green adds. 'I'm a good player, and the grades are what I need to focus on.'

The big and fast Green will go focus at Butte College in Oroville, Calif., and attempt to get his two-year degree so he can transfer to play Division I football. No question, Green has the talent to play in the Pac-10 Conference; he says Oregon State recruited him, as well as Brigham Young, Montana State, UCLA and Washington State.

But he twice failed to make the necessary score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Many athletes don't pass the SAT, at least initially. The best ones persevere in junior college and attain D-I full rides.

The 6-1, 220-pound Green had 85 yards on nine carries in the annual statewide prep all-star game and led the North in oohs and aahs coming from the team bench. One particular spin move had North players in disbelief. Even Green thought, 'Wow, what did I do?'

'He's a guy that I had heard of,' says Lake Oswego tight end Gabe Miller, who sat out because of an injury, 'but he's come out here, and I'm amazed by his size and speed.'

Green says he runs the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds and wants to drop to 4.5 or 4.4. 'Big guys like me got to have speed, agility and quickness - and strength. I need to hit the weights some more,' he says.

Green impressed the coaches, too. 'Fantastic kid - everything was 'yes, sir,' 'no, sir,' ' says Jesuit's Ken Potter, the North head coach.

'He's a big-time running back,' says Lincoln's Chad Carlson, the North offensive coordinator. 'We'll see things from him in the future.'

nThe North had vastly superior talent, starting with quarterbacks Kevin Riley of Beaverton and Cody Kempt of Westview. Riley went 16-of-26 for 236 yards and three TDs and showed off his arm strength. Kempt was 14-of-27 for 101 yards and two TDs and showed off his scrambling ability.

Riley says he worked out with Kellen Clemens last summer, and 'I could throw farther than him.'

'His deep ball is absolutely amazing,' Carlson says of Riley. 'We haven't seen anybody around like that in a long time. And he's a good leader.'

Carlson calls Kempt 'one of the purest athletes I've seen in a while … a Greek god.'

Riley and Kempt have formed a mutual admiration society, after being dubbed rivals throughout their youth careers.

'Kevin's a great player, great person, great character,' says Kempt, who leaves this week for the University of Oregon, where he will room with fellow prep recruit QB Justin Roper. 'I'm glad I got to play with him.'

Riley, who leaves for Cal Bear workouts this week, says Kempt 'studies the game, which is why he's going to be successful. He's a good kid.'

Two questions to ponder: How will Kempt's repetitive accuracy develop? Will Riley's height (6-1) hold him back?

nMiller, a top OSU signee, expects to be jogging in two weeks and possibly going full speed on routes, workouts and the scout team within three months - about the middle of Oregon State's season. But he understands the need to come back slowly from his torn Achilles tendon.

'(Doctors) have told me it'll start feeling good - it already does - like I can get out and do stuff,' he says. 'But they told me to be patient, and not do anything to irritate it.'

Miller attended North practice nearly every day, just to experience the all-star atmosphere. 'I had fun getting to know all the guys,' he says, including future Beaver teammate Mau Nomani of Tigard. 'I'm trying to keep my spirits up and take it for what it is. Everything happens for a reason.'

Notes

There were 10 Division I signees on the North roster - and numerous other small-college signees - not including West Linn receiver Sam Oltman, who plans to walk on at Oregon State. 'He's a big guy (6-3) who doesn't look fast, but he's a strider, and he keeps going,' Riley says. … Lincoln's Michael Johnson says he plans to attend Stonehill College, a Division II school in Easton, Mass., on scholarship. 'We'll see what happens, maybe transfer,' he says. 'I went out there because they recruited me, and it was a good school.' Johnson had a TD on an interception Saturday, and Fetzer called him the most impressive defensive player on the team. … Carlson says Tigard coach Mitch Sanders, another North assistant whose Tigers play Lincoln next year, 'has been picking my brain and writing down every last word I've said. He's a great guy and intense, and he'll be tough to beat already. Now that he knows my stuff … good luck.' … Tualatin's Bubba Lemon plans to play football at Linfield, where his father, Meadow Lemon, coaches cornerbacks. Bubba Lemon, a quarterback for the Timberwolves, won't play the position for the Wildcats - veteran Tim Benzel probably will replace record-setting Brett Elliott. Lemon says coach Jay Locey's move from Linfield to Oregon State does not bother him. 'I'm happy for the man,' he says. Defensive coordinator Joe Smith has replaced Locey as head coach as Linfield seeks its 52nd consecutive winning season. 'We're just losing the big man; Coach Smith will do the job,' Lemon says. … The North, which now leads the series 28-27-4, scored a record 49 points despite its offense being on the bench in the fourth quarter. The Schwab Bowl rules allow the trailing team to play offense and try to make the score respectable. The South scored three late TDs.

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